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Hall school board race pits incumbent Craig Herrington vs. newcomer Clay Davis
Clay Davis
Clay Davis

Hall County Board of Education District 3

Craig Herrington

Age: 55

Occupation: Worked at Duplicating Products of Gainesville for 35 years


Political experience: Served on the school board for 16 years. Also was president of booster club.

Clay Davis

Age: 43

Occupation: Owned and operated Davis Outdoor Construction for 15 years


Political experience: First time running for elected office. Active in West Hall High School Touchdown Club, local school council, PTO.

Key 2016 election dates

Monday: 9th District Town Hall Meeting, 6:30-8 p.m., Brenau Downtown Center auditorium, 301 Main St., Gainesville; broadcast live on WDUN AM550 and FM102.9, also on,, and the AccessWDUN smartphone app; free to public.

May 24: Georgia state primary (for congressional and local offices); early voting weekdays through May 20 and Saturday voting May 14; runoff date July 26

Oct. 11: Registration deadline for general election

Oct. 17: Early voting begins for general election

Nov. 8: Election Day

The District 3 race for the Hall County Board of Education is a contrast between experience and a political newcomer.

Craig Herrington, the board vice chairman and incumbent, has served for 16 years. Clay Davis, his opponent, is in the midst of his first political race.

“For as long as I can remember, my wife and I have done something with children,” said Herrington, who has worked at Duplicating Products of Gainesville for 35 years.

Their work with school festivals, booster club and youth sports led to his running for the board.

“As a board member, we have paid off the system’s debt, opened several new schools, expanded programs of choice — all during some of the most difficult economic times,” Herrington said.

Davis, who owns a construction firm, said he would “bring fresh leadership to a part of the Hall County school board that seems to have gotten comfortable and, quite frankly, lost touch with the grassroots of who we are in this county.”

If elected, Davis said, he would hold “town hall” meetings for families and teachers, work to reduce the number of people he believes take their children to other school systems for their education and “bring immediate improvement to the appearance of the schools in areas of the county that have been neglected for years.”   

Herrington emphasized the district’s continuing effort to expand choice for students and figure out ways to measure success in that.

“The current one-size-fits-all education, as well as measuring a school’s performance with a single test, are both outdated methods of education,” Herrington said. “Our system has over 27,000 individual students. Each student has unique gifts and skills. We are currently working to help students find an educational path that allows them to explore their gifts. This requires programs outside of traditional classroom settings.”

“Also finding an alternate way to measure this type of education will be new and does not fit the current methods,” Herrington added. “Money is a factor in what you can do and how much you can do.”

Davis, however, said the system needs rejuvenation.

After all those years, an elected official can lose sight of the real issues and find themselves motivated by politics more than the people,” he said. “I realize that politics do play a part in our society, but when it comes to our children, it shouldn’t dictate their future.  

We have too many families that have chosen to drive their children to city schools or even private schools due to their perception of a ‘less than desirable’ education. Our teachers and staff in Hall County are some of the finest in the country, and we intend to rebuild that reputation.”

Davis said the county schools’ teachers and staff are the strongest aspect of the system. But he maintains “Hall County has seen many of the best teachers leave for other jobs within Hall County or even out of Hall County.”

“We have really failed to provide the kind of investments and career support for our educators that we should have,” Davis said. “That would probably represent the weakest area of our part of Hall County — maintaining those teachers beyond their first few years of teaching.”

Herrington noted that teachers “saw considerable cuts” during the years of the Great Recession — losses in salary, in furlough days and in extended contracts. He said at a recent board meeting that the proposed increase in pay should be regarded as restoring part of what was lost, not an increase.

He also said the county schools must deal with a tax digest that includes about 20 percent of the county property that is exempt from property taxes.

He said the county schools are just now getting back to a growth pattern with plans for shifting schools in the southern part of the county to meet increasing enrollment needs.

Davis called for a dramatic shift in the “branding and marketing of our public schools.”